Korean Beauty: Fad or Fixture?
Last week co-founder and Chief Artistic Officer of Korean skincare brand Erborian, Katalin Berenyi, hosted CEW’s sold out mentoring event Korean Beauty: Fad or Fixture?
During the discussion, Katalin provided the audience with an in-depth exploration of the fascinating and ultra-sophisticated beauty rituals that are found in Korean beauty culture. A country of contradictions, Korea is both highly traditional and yet incredibly modern, which is evidenced in the beauty rituals and societal expectations of how women should look and behave.
Korean culture has both a ‘public’ and a ‘private face’ and women are expected to adhere to these constructs accordingly. Korean women believe that a woman should never leave the house without make-up and that they are expected to ‘dress down’ their faces each evening by completing a full cleansing, exfoliating and toning regime. These procedures are seen both as a social obligation and as an investment for the future of their skin in a quest to preserve their youth. Katalin also discussed Koreans’ desire for a woman to look ‘fragile’ and so explored the idea that women will often apply red make up on their face and under their eyes to create the appearance as though they’ve been crying.
As part of their daily ritual, Korean women will spend up to an hour and a half every morning and evening focusing on their skincare routines. This is not seen as a chore but as a traditional ritual, which has been passed down through generations for thousands of years. To support these rituals Katalin expressed that there is a famous Korean saying that states, “There are no ugly women, only lazy women”.
Despite many of these rituals and beliefs being seen as controversial in today’s society, there are many Korean beauty trends that are being embraced within British beauty culture, such as the concept of ‘layering’ different skincare and make-up products. Korean skincare rituals often include the application of up to 15 products - one after the other in succession and in a specific order. Korean products have been technologically designed and formulated in a specific way so that the skin can absorb these products and allow them to be layered.
Other beauty trends that were established in Korea include the use of serum, sheet masks and lip powder. Erborian brought the first Korean BB cream to Europe in 2009, and today the ‘Paris-meets-Seoul’ brand prides itself on being a leading authority on Korean Beauty.
President of CEW UK, Caroline Neville, brought the morning to a close by thanking Katalin for sharing her unparalleled expertise with the audience and congratulating Erborian as a brand for staying well ahead of the curve in terms of Korean beauty. There’s no denying that despite the ever-changing face of beauty, Korean beauty is here to stay.